Did Jacksonville Anchor Have to Straighten Her Hair to Get a Job?

By Kevin Eck 

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In light of the recent Zendaya controversy surrounding E! Entertainment anchor Giuliana Rancic, TVSpy noticed an interview the Jacksonville Business Journal recently did with Romney Smith.

Long story short: Zendaya wore dreads. Rancic said the teen singer looked like she smelled of patchouli oil or weed and then had to apologize for the racist remarks.

Smith, an anchor for WJAX-WFOX since December 2013, tells a story about how she felt she had to change her hair in order to get a job.

What obstacles have you faced in your field? What lessons/strategies did you learn as a result?

Getting my first job was a huge challenge. I was unemployed for two months after graduate school and all I did was spend hours a day apply to jobs across the country. One of my professors in graduate school told me I’d never get a job in TV with ‘radical’ hair because it made a statement even if I didn’t intend it to. She advised I straighten it in order to ‘blend in’. I did, and two weeks later I landed my first job and I’ve worn it straight ever since. I’ve had to work with hairstylists to learn how to wear and style my hair straight because that is the look the television industry prefers for women of all colors. I was used to wearing my hair in its naturally curly state, but now I’m a pro with a hair dryer, flat iron and curling iron! It pained me at first to wear my hair straight because it took a lot of time, effort, money to acquire all of the tools and I didn’t “look like me” to myself. Now I’m used to it, although if you see me on the weekend, I most likely will have curly hair! I hope one day our definition of beauty expands to be more inclusive of different hair textures and styles.